Others Who May be Eligible
There are a number of others eligible for veterans' burial benefits if the person
has provided military-related service. The list is quite long and includes civilians
who were involved with military efforts during war-time. Members of the
National Guard and Reserves with 20 years of service are eligible. Some Public
Health Service personnel are also eligible. You should inquire if you believe you
might be entitled to such benefits.

Persons Not Eligible
Divorced spouses
Adult children
Parents, siblings and others, even if they are dependents
Those with a dishonorable discharge
Those convicted of subversive activities and capital crimes
The Department of Defense (DOD) is responsible for providing military funeral
honors. "Honoring Those Who Served” is the title of the DOD program for
providing dignified military funeral honors to veterans who have defended our

Upon the family's request, Public Law 106-65 requires that every eligible
veteran receive a military funeral honors ceremony, to include folding and
presenting the United States burial flag and the playing of Taps. The law defines
a military funeral honors detail as consisting of two or more uniformed military
persons, with at least one being a member of the veteran's parent service of the
armed forces.

The DOD program calls for funeral home directors to request military funeral
honors on behalf of the veterans' family. However, the Department of Veterans
Affairs (VA) National Cemetery Administration cemetery staff can also assist
with arranging military funeral honors at VA national cemeteries. Veterans
organizations may assist in providing military funeral honors. When military
funeral honors at a national cemetery are desired, they are arranged prior to the
committal service by the funeral home.

The Department of Defense began the implementation plan for providing
military funeral honors for eligible veterans as enacted in Section 578 of Public
Law 106-65 of the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2000 on Jan. 1,

Questions or comments concerning the DOD military funeral honors program
may be sent to the address listed below. The military funeral honors.
Department of Defense
Directorate for Public Inquiry and Analysis
Room 3A750, The Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-1400
Military Funeral Honors
"Honoring Those Who Served"
Veterans Burial Benefits
The Department of Defense
began the implementation plan
for eligible veterans as enacted
in Section 578 of Public Law
106-65 of the National
Defense Authorization Act for
FY 2000 on Jan. 1, 2000.
the funeral source
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Dept. of
Veterans Funeral Benefits
Veterans' Funeral and Burial Benefits
Spouse and Dependents
A spouse and dependents of an eligible veteran are entitled to burial in a national
cemetery even if the veteran is not buried there.

A spouse who remarries a non-veteran may claim burial rights from the prior

Spouses receiving military pay and who die in a military medical facility are
eligible for military transport to the nearest national cemetery or no farther than
the last permanent residence.

Adult children of veterans are entitled to burial benefits only if disabled and
All veterans are entitled to burial in a national cemetery, a grave marker
(regardless of the cemetery), and a flag. Spouses and dependent children are also
entitled to a lot and marker but only in a national cemetery.

There will be no charges for opening or closing the grave, a vault or liner, or
setting the marker in a national cemetery. Depending on the circumstances, a
family will be responsible for all other expenses including transportation to the

Death During Active Duty. All funeral expenses will be paid by the military—
body preparation, casket, transportation to the place of disposition, interment (if in
a national cemetery), and marker. In addition, next of kin are entitled to a "death
gratuity" of $12,000.

Death Due to a Service Related Injury. There is a $2,000 "burial allowance" for
these veterans that may be used to cover some of the funeral director's expenses,
the casket, and transportation to the cemetery. IF death occurred in a VA facility,
transport of the body to the cemetery will be paid, provided it is no farther than
the last place of residence.

Burial not in a National Cemetery. There is a $300 "interment allowance," but
it is unlikely that will cover opening and closing or vault charges, let alone the cost
of the lot. Although a marker is available at no charge, the private cemetery will
probably have a setting fee.

Non-Service Related Death in a VA Facility or While Collecting a VA
Pension or Disability Compensation
. There is a $300 "burial allowance" which
may be used to defray some of the usual funeral expenses. Although burial in a
national cemetery is free to these veterans, all other mortuary expenses are the
responsibility of the family. Transportation to a national cemetery (not farther than
the residence of the deceased) will be provided only if the death occurs in a VA
facility. The $300 interment allowance applies when burial is in other than a
national cemetery.

Death of a Veteran Outside a VA Facility, Not Receiving Military Pension or
The $2,000 and $300 benefits do not apply, nor is there
reimbursement for transportation to the cemetery. The lot in a national cemetery,
any required vault, interment, a marker, and flag are the only burial benefits. If
interment is in other than a national cemetery, the family is responsible for the cost
of the lot, opening and closing charges, the vault, and any fee charged for setting
the government marker if that is selected. The family must also bear all other
funeral costs.
Family Eligibility
Spouse, Dependents, & Others Who are Eligible
Memorials are available to all veterans, spouses, and dependent children buried
in a national cemetery and will be set without charge. For veterans who died
before Sept. 11, 2001, markers are available to them —not to the spouse or
dependents—for use in other cemeteries unless the grave has already been
marked by a private memorial. For veterans who died on or after Sept. 11,
2001, the government will provide a headstone even if the grave already has a
private marker. The installation cost must be borne by the family when in a non-
government cemetery. Several styles of markers are available and must be
consistent with existing monuments. Niche markers for cremains are also

Inscription must include name, branch of service, year of birth, year of death—
in this order—and may include emblem of belief, rank, and decorations earned.
At private expense, additional items—such as nick-names and terms of
endearment—may be added but must be approved by the VA.
Miscellaneous Benefits & Information
You may not reserve space in a national cemetery ahead of time; arrangements
are made only at the time of death. Therefore, there is no guarantee that
spouses will be interred side by side.

• Burials in a national cemetery are not usually conducted on weekends.

• National cemeteries provide space for both body burial and cremated remains.

• Check with the cemetery regarding grave site adornments other than natural
cut flowers.

• Military honors or a funeral honor guard may be available from nearby military
installations or veterans groups. Fly-overs are reserved for those on active duty
at the time of death.

• A flag is provided on request for the burial of any veteran. Apply through the
VA and pick up at a U.S. Post Office. Family members may wish to purchase a
flag case for later display, available through private sources.

• Next of kin, other relatives or friends may request a "Presidential Memorial
Certificate." More than one may be requested.

• A family may apply directly to the VA for all benefits. Although it may be
convenient to let the undertaker do so, you may wish to ask if the mortician
charges for submitting claims.

• When the body of a veteran without next of kin is unclaimed from a VA
facility and the estate is without sufficient assets, the VA will assume
responsibility for burial.

• Other than for sea burial, there are NO casket requirements for routine body
burial. An undertaker handling the unclaimed body of a vet must supply
something more durable than cardboard, unless the body is to be cremated.

• "No-fee" passports are available for family visiting overseas grave-sites or

• The National Cemetery System may be asked to do a search to locate anyone
interred in a national cemetery. In addition to general vital statistics, you will
need to know the state from which the veteran entered military service.

• There are STATE-run veterans’ cemeteries that may offer the same or similar
benefits, with some restrictions.

For a listing of VA cemeteries, check http://cem.va.gov
Grave Markers
Government Provided Grave Markers
Misc. Benefits
Miscellaneous Benefits and Information
Dept. of Defense
Department of Defense Veterans Requirements
Military Funerals
Do you have questions or comments? You can email us directly or
choose from a variety of ways to contact The Funeral Source
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